Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle: ‘Monta Ellis deserves to be an All-Star’


Ask any casual NBA fan who the leading scorer is for the Mavericks this season, and they will reflexively (and confidently) respond by uttering the name Dirk Nowitzki.

But that would be factually incorrect.

It’s Monta Ellis, who is averaging a team-high in both points per game (20) and minutes per game (33.7), while being the only Dallas player to appear in all 43 of his team’s contests.

Those are just some of the reasons that Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle believes that Ellis would be more deserving of All-Star honors than any of his other players.

From Bryan Gutierrez of MavsOutsider:

Carlisle on the most-deserving Mav as an All-Star: “I think Monta Ellis is the most deserving based on how he continues to elevate his game”

Carlisle on Ellis as an All-Star: “Each year with us, his defense is a bigger factor. He’s become a leader. … The evidence is all there.”

Rick Carlisle: “Monta Ellis deserves to be an All-Star. Tweet that.”

The Mavericks are currently just fourth in a stacked Western Conference, and even if Ellis is indeed the most deserving in Dallas, he has little to no chance of being chosen as an All-Star reserve by the coaches out West.

We’re talking about a field so loaded that Klay Thompson probably would have been snubbed, if not for the shoulder injury suffered by Kobe Bryant. Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, and James Harden all are seemingly in need of invites, which leaves Ellis (and another perhaps more deserving candidate in Mike Conley of Memphis) on the outside looking in.

Ellis never had a realistic chance this year, if we’re being honest. But his coach hyping up his season to the media isn’t at all a bad bit of consolation.

Charles Barkley: “Chris Paul doesn’t deserve to make the All-Star team”


Chris Paul has been selected for the last seven All-Star Games, played in six of them and started four.

This season CP3 is averaging 17.3 points and dishing out 9.8 assists a game, he has a .579 true shooting percentage well above the league average and has a PER of 24.7 — all of those numbers right around his career averages — while leading the Clippers to a 29-14 record.

But in a loaded Western Conference deep with guards Charles Barkley says Chris Paul doesn’t deserve to make the All-Star Team. None of the guys on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” picked Paul as an All-Star reserve. Barkley went on the Clippers’ flagship radio station Friday, The Beast 980 in Los Angeles, and defended his choice.

“Chris Paul doesn’t deserve to make the All-Star team. I love Chris. I’ve said that he’s the best leader we’ve got in the NBA now, but he’s not an All-Star this year. There are too many guys head of him. Steph Curry is the MVP probably, so far this year in the NBA. You’ve got Klay Thompson too.

“Steph is the leading vote-getter, and he’s best the best PG in the NBA this year. Kobe’s there, and that’s going to be the big decision, but then you’ve got James Harden, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard…. It’s going to be very difficult for Chris to make the team this year.”

I think Barkley is wrong here.

Yes, Stephen Curry is the leading vote getter, MVP candidate and starter at the point. As it should be. Yes, Kobe Bryant was voted in by the fans (even though it appears he will miss the game due to injury).

But that leaves still three or four more guard spots, depending on how you want to use your “wild card” slots. I think we can all agree that James Harden should make the team (and be slotted as a starter if Kobe is out) and Damian Lillard should be in as well.

After that, who are you putting ahead of CP3? On Barkley’s list on TNT he had Russell Westbrook and Klay Thompson ahead of Paul. Both guys having great seasons but Westbrook missed a lot of games with injuries and Thompson, while having a great season, is not the floor general or leader of an elite team the way Paul is — CP3 means more to the Clippers.

Barkley is big on rewarding winning teams… um, the Clippers are 29-14, that’s a 55-win pace? No, the Clips have not lived up to the preseason hype, they’ve been maddeningly inconsistent, but they are still winning. A lot.

After that there are great choices out West, I hate to see Mike Conley miss the team, but the conference is just loaded.

That said, if you’re leaving Chris Paul off your team you’re doing it wrong.

DeAndre Jordan posterizes Brook Lopez with alley-oop finish (VIDEO)

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That pretty much sums up how the Nets’ game against the Clippers went Thursday.

Late in the second quarter of the Clippers utter destruction of the Nets Thursday, DeAndre Jordan was rolling down the lane, got the alley-oop pass from Chris Paul, went up to finish and Brook Lopez quaintly tried to rotate over. It didn’t end well for Lopez.

After the game Jordan was having a laugh about the play.

Report: Kobe first injured shoulder during preseason, has been playing through it all year


An MRI revealed that Kobe Bryant has suffered a torn rotator cuff injury to his right shoulder, and while the severity of the injury is not yet known, it’s certainly something that could cause him to be shut down for the remainder of the season.

As it turns out, this is not a new injury; Bryant first suffered it during the preseason, and has been playing through it all year. But he aggravated it somewhat severely in Wednesday night’s loss in New Orleans.

From Ramona Shelburne of

Kobe first injured this shoulder in the preseason, according to sources. Has been playing w/ it all year. It just got worse last night

And from Ken Berger of

On Kobe Bryant, there’s “concern” within Lakers this could be season-ending, source says. But nothing definitive until docs examine him.

There have been rumblings that the Lakers may choose to shut down Bryant at some point during this lost season, and this injury, even if it’s only a partial tear, would provide more than enough of a legitimate reason to do so.

L.A. has zero chance of getting anywhere near the playoffs, and with Bryant under contract for one additional season, it may be worth saving him in case the Lakers are able to convince one or more impactful free agents to come to Los Angeles this summer.

If Bryant does miss significant time, it’ll open the door for someone more deserving to make the All-Star team out West. The guard position is extremely deep with guys like James Harden, Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook and Klay Thompson all seemingly in need of a spot, but one would likely have been left out had Bryant been healthy enough to appear. Assuming the injury now forces him out of action, there should be room for everyone who has a legitimate case to make it to the midseason exhibition in NYC.

Who should be the All-Star Game reserves? Here’s our picks.


Now we know the starters for the All-Star Game in New York Feb. 15.

We also know that Mike Budenholzer and Steve Kerr will be the coaches. We know that Ariana Grande will be the halftime entertainment. We know that some confused out-of-town fans will take the train to Penn Station then still ask someone how to get to Madison Square Garden from there.

What we don’t know is who will be the reserves for the All-Star Game. With the starters in place the coaches from around the league vote to round out the rest of the field. Those reserves will be announced officially Jan. 29. But we’re not that patient, so we’re giving you our picks today. The entire team at ProBasketballTalk — Kurt Helin, Brett Pollakoff, Dan Feldman and Sean Highkin — have made their selections, and while we agree on some we also discuss below where we disagree.

Like the coaches do, we picked two backup guards, three backup front court players and two wild cards.

(For the record, we are not dealing with the Kobe Bryant injury in this post, nor potentially LaMarcus Aldridge. It is very likely Kobe will be out of the All-Star Game, at which point Commissioner Adam Silver gets to pick his replacement on the team, while Steve Kerr would pick who will start in his place.)



Kurt: This is just a brutal set of choices — it’s not that just there are guys like Klay Thompson, Mike Conley, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki who just missed my cut, it’s that guys like Tony Parker or Monta Ellis are deserving and can’t even get close to serious consideration. The West is just overloaded with talent. The hardest call for me was whether or not to include Kevin Durant on the team — he’s been amazing when he’s played but missed a lot of time. In the end, I just can’t keep the second best player on the planet off the squad if he’s healthy, and clearly he is.

Brett: The West is just too stacked this year, which means plenty of deserving players will end up getting shut out. Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins are the biggest snubs, and of course, guys like Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan would get in if the talent pool was more diluted. I don’t see Klay usurping any of the guards, and if Cousins gets in, it may be at Howard’s expense. But I simply couldn’t justify leaving any of the guys I selected off of the roster.

Dan: With my criteria, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were slam-dunk choices, where others might debate whether they’ve played enough. Very little separated DeMarcus Cousins, Tim Duncan, Chris Paul and Damian Lillard (in) and Dirk Nowitzki and LaMarcus Aldridge (out). Because I’m not worried time missed, I also gave serious to Kawhi Leonard, whose impact on the Spurs in limited action is unquestioned. Klay Thompson wasn’t too difficult an omission, which says a lot about the West. And if Thompson didn’t come that close, other seemingly reasonable candidates like Mike Conley, Tyson Chandler, Gordon Hayward, DeAndre Jordan, Derrick Favors, Goran Dragic and Draymond Green didn’t have much of a chance.



Kurt: Finding enough representation for the Hawks was the challenge, because you can argue they should have four guys. I couldn’t select Kyle Korver over Jeff Teague and I couldn’t leave off any of the other guards — Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler have been fantastic and deserved their spots, and without LeBron in Miami Wade has stepped up his game this season.

Brett: You could make a case for the Hawks getting four players in — I mean, the team has won 27 of its last 29 games. But Bosh is worthy, so Horford (regrettably) just misses the cut.

Dan: Kyrie Irving vs. Jeff Teague was my toughest decision in this process. Teague has been better this season, but I pick All-Stars based on which player I believe is best at this moment. That’s still Irving, who has a stronger track record but has been (somewhat fairly, somewhat unfairly) tainted by the Cavaliers’ early struggles. By the same logic, I wasn’t going to punish Kevin Love for Cleveland marginalizing him.  Nikola Vucevic, Kyle Korver, Kemba Walker and Andre Drummond also drew consideration.